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RNC's AI-generated Biden attack ad puzzles pundits, Democrats

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Democrats and pundits were largely puzzled and also unimpressed by the Republican National Committee’s (RNC) decision to use its first-ever ad generated by artificial intelligence to attack President Biden’s re-election launch.

The ad, which depicts dystopian hypothetical scenarios in a Biden second-term, left Democrats feeling confident that it was a sign Republicans would struggle to make coherent arguments against the president’s record.

“Biden’s campaign launch starts with actual dystopic footage of the final days of Trump and then shows actual great moment’s of Biden’s presidency,” tweeted Ben Wikler, the chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party. “The GOP don’t want anyone thinking about how much has been achieved… so they had AI make their attacks up.”

The 30-second video, which the RNC called “an AI-generated look into the country’s possible future if Joe Biden is re-elected in 2024,” opens with an image of Biden winning a second term shrouded by a dark background. It follows with hypothetical crises such as a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, a financial system collapse, a surge of migrants at the southern border and overwhelming crime and drug use in San Francisco.

The ad touches on some of the GOP’s most popular campaign topics on the trail – the threat of communist China, crime running rampant in liberal cities and what they often depict as “wide open” borders that they say Democrats allow.

In a statement accompanying Tuesday’s ad, RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel underscored that the themes portrayed in the video will remain prevalent in the GOP’s bid to take back the White House.

“Biden is so out-of-touch that after creating crisis after crisis, he thinks he deserves another four years,” she said. “If voters let Biden ‘finish the job,’ inflation will continue to skyrocket, crime rates will rise, more fentanyl will cross our open borders, children will continue to be left behind, and American families will be worse off. Republicans are united to beat Biden and Americans are counting down the days until they can send Biden packing.”

One Republican strategist who is not affiliated with the RNC argued that the ad was effective, arguing it played into fears voters may have about central issues like crime and the economy. The strategist also noted the ad gained significant media attention, largely because of the artificial intelligence aspect.

But Democrats and some other strategists were more skeptical of the message within the ad, arguing it failed to land a blow against Biden on the day of his much-anticipated re-election launch.

“The RNC’s response to the Biden announcement suggests that they still haven’t figured out an argument against Biden that makes sense to anyone outside of the MAGA media bubble,” said Dan Pfeiffer, a former Obama White House official and co-host of Pod Save America.

Tim Miller, who worked on Jeb Bush’s 2016 campaign and is a staunch Trump critic, highlighted the contrast between the AI-generated images in the RNC ad and Biden’s video, which shows actual footage of the attack on the Capitol.

Others noted that the RNC ad did not go after Biden for his record of the past 27 months in the White House, despite his approval ratings hovering in the low 40 percent range amid concerns about his handling of the economy or the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

“In incredibly telling fashion, the RNC had to *make up* images because, quite simply, they can’t argue with President Biden’s results,” the Democratic National Committee said in a statement highlighting criticism of the ad.

For its part, the White House said later on Tuesday it was unaware of the AI video. Press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre instead pivoted to the administration’s work on AI’s risks. The Biden administration has warned it plans to cracked down on the technology if it’s involved in harmful business practices.

Biden’s own launch video leaned heavily into images from the Jan. 6, 2021, riots at the Capitol that preceded his time in office, as well as demonstrations against the Supreme Court’s ruling striking down Roe v. Wade.

Taken together, Biden’s launch video and the RNC ad responding to it preview the tenor of the campaign ahead, which in many ways resembles the tone of the 2020 campaign, where Republicans tried to warn that a Biden presidency would result in widespread crime and chaos, but at times used misleading imagery to do so.

In one 2020 ad that ran on Facebook promoting then-President Trump as a law and order candidate, the Trump campaign used a photo that showed a police officer being attacked by protesters, but critics pointed out the image was from 2014 demonstrations in Ukraine.

The Trump campaign again drew criticism for an ad it aired in 2020 that manipulated photos of Biden to make him look like he was sitting in his basement as Republicans attacked Biden for avoiding public events during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Source: The Hill

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